Searching for a Job in a new city before you move there!

Read Carla’s story about how she accomplished this. Last summer, I did something that seemed highly unlikely: I got a job in a city I wanted to live in before I moved there.
When I made the decision to move, I wondered if it was possible to secure a job from afar. Initially, the logistics and distance made it seem like a mountain to climb. But in hindsight, being proactive and calculated in my job search made relocating rather easy. Based on my experience, here are some things you can do to make the seemingly impossible, possible:

Include a potential arrival date in your cover letter and resume

Something I considered early on was how my address would appear to prospective employers across the country. Not favorable in comparison to local candidates, I estimated. It seemed like a possible barrier, so to remove it, I wrote “Relocating (city of choice) in August 2015” in parentheses directly under my current address on each document. And for a more definitive explanation, I reserved a sentence in my cover letter’s final paragraph and said something like: “I am relocating to (city of choice) in August 2015, but I welcome any opportunity to interview for this role before then.” These steps effectively alerted employers of my current location and not-so-distant future intention. A common piece of advice is to use a friend’s local address. However, I learned that this can be confusing to prospective employers since you’re not actually there yet.)

Learn about the local scene

Another initial step I took when seeking to relocate my career in a city far-far away, was to inform myself on things like:

  • -Future employers at my destination. Do everything you can to figure out which companies are operating in the place you want to live in.
  • -Local job sources: Find out who is hiring for a position you want to apply for.
  • -Online sources that have great tips for relocating your career. Take some advice on long-distance job searching from some people who have done it! .

  • Be ready to explain why you’re moving

    When you decide to make a long-distance move, your parents, friends, neighbors, and friendly guy at the bank will all ask you why you are leaving. So will a prospective employer during your first phone interview and probably any subsequent interviews. To avoid bumbling through an answer about coffee and beer! Do yourself a favor and come up with a preferred story – one that even mom buys into – and tell it with enthusiasm. Having your story straight and telling it with confidence will underscore your seriousness about relocating, and make an employer who might take a chance on a non-local candidate more comfortable with hiring you from afar.

    Leverage your network and actively build a new one

    I found that networking was the single most important step I took to relocate my career. Talk to everyone you know about your future abode and its job scene. Specifically, I reached out to:

  • -Colleagues. I sought advice from my coworkers, past bosses and mentors, and other affiliates I met through my work-life.
  • -Local associations. I became friendly with professionals by reaching out to local places and building relationships.
  • -LinkedIn connections. I scanned my LinkedIn account for anyone who might be able to help and even reached out to some 2nd – 4th degree connections that had experience in working in the field.
  • By spinning a web of connections for my relocation project, I ultimately forged some important relationships with those in my soon-to-be market and garnered some important information during the process. I found that having my name “out there” led to a series of interviews.
    Be flexible and smart

    During your long-distance job search, you will be required to have interviews at odd hours and likely be asked to travel for an in-person interview. So be ready for anything, whether it be phone, Skype, or heading to the airport for a five hour flight.
    It is important to be flexible with a potential employer because unfortunately for you, there are likely local candidates who will be far easier to access. Make sure any commitments you make are within both your means and the realm of reason. If you are travelling a great distance for an in-person interview, you must weigh the opportunity cost with your time and money.
    I’d advise making sure interviews on the road are final interviews, due to the time and cost involved. Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re a final candidate for a position and be open about your availability, desires, etc. Be as flexible as possible, but be smart about what you can and can’t do.
    Finding and getting a job is never easy, but doing it from long distances makes it even more difficult. My best advice would be to seize the opportunity like you never have before. Bring your top game in any interaction with a potential employer and make sure you are doing everything you can to act like a candidate that is not so far away. I ended up relocating my career relatively easily by taking into account the tips above, but by more often than not, just by being proactive and rational.